Google Play to restrict apps with hate speech, sexual content and marijuana sales

“Google will no longer felicitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana-related products through apps”

In a bid to make the Google Play store more family-friendly, the Mountain View company is making policy changes on the kind of applications it accepts. The latest change restricts applications that embrace marijuana sales. According to Google, some of the examples of common violations include allowing users to order marijuana through an in-app shopping cart feature, assisting users in arranging the delivery or pick up of marijuana and facilitating the sale of products containing THC. It is pretty clear that Google wants to curb the apps that make it easier for the youth to get hold of weed, despite it being legal in some parts of the world.

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Google will no longer felicitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana-related products through apps. In a statement, Google said, “These apps need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy. We’ve been in contact with many of the developers and are working with them to answer any technical questions and help them implement the changes without customer disruption.”

As for the hate speech, Google says that it doesn’t allow apps that promote violence or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation. Before today’s change, the company prohibited “sexually explicit content,” now it has now changed the policy to a simple ban on such content. This also includes apps that promote sex-related entertainment.

Google requires apps offering mechanisms to receive randomised virtual items from a purchase (i.e. “loot boxes”) must clearly disclose the odds of receiving those items in advance of purchase. It is also banning apps that facilitate or promote the sale of counterfeit goods, which is a common form of fraud. Lastly, Google said that it wouldn’t allow apps that encourage or induce infringement of intellectual property rights.